Smartwatches are the hottest property in tech right now, and despite still being early in 2021, there are plenty of upcoming devices to get excited about.
The focus in the early part of 2021 will be on budget smartwatches, as the quality of sub-$100 devices improves.
That's until the likes of Apple, Fitbit and Samsung look to refresh their line-ups in the second half of the year.
This affordable arms race is being driven by the same companies that tore up the rulebook for smartphones: the likes of Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, ZTE and Huawei are all the busiest when it comes to new smartwatches.
Read on for our round-up of the upcoming smartwatches we're excited about.
Check our smartwatch reviews
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch SE
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Fitbit Sense
- Fitbit Versa 3
- Amazfit Bip U Pro review
- Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review
- Amazfit GTR 2e review
- Huawei Watch Fit
- Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
- Xiaomi Mi Watch
Rumoured smartwatches for 2021
While all of the below devices are either confirmed or have been spotted at regulators, there are plenty of other devices we're looking forward to this year.
The Apple Watch Series 7 will surely launch in September ‚Äď and could offer a change in design for the first time since the Series 4.
We're also looking forward to Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches. Not only will this yield a new flagship device, but will provide a blueprint for the rest of the Fossil Group line-up including Skagen, Kate Spade and Michael Kors for the next two years.
We're also tracking the launch of the Vivoactive 5. Garmin's multisport smartwatch is one one the key members of its line-up, and we'd love to see it slim down and really embrace the intersection of smartwatch features and top sports tracking.
And the Versa 4 and Charge 5 could get a showing this year, and we're eager to see what the first devices launched under the new Fitbit/Google partnership will yield.
Finally, the Huawei Watch GT3 will be an important release. The GT2 has shown how Huawei can bring long battery life and top sports features, and we're hoping it can build on that with its new focus on third party apps.
ETA: 26 April
The OnePlus Watch has been announced it's set to go on sale globally for $159, runs on a proprietary OS.
The circular design comes in a 46mm stainless steel case that‚Äôs available in black and silver. You get a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen, with a 326 pixel-per-inch resolution which stacks up pretty well against the competition.
The heart rate monitor is also capable of blood oxygen monitoring, and it features built-in GPS and 110 workout profiles.
Swimming is supported with IP68 water resistance with dedicated swimming metrics and inside is is a massive 420mAh battery that can deliver two weeks of battery life. What's more, fast charging offers a week of battery life with just 20 minute charge.
It's an impressive spec sheet ‚Äď and looks like a real contender. It will launch on 26 April.
Read our full guide to the OnePlus Watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (rumored)
ETA: April/May 2021
We only just got the Galaxy Watch 3, but there's serious rumblings that Samsung is about to launch new Galaxy Watch 4 and Active 4 smartwatches.
And if that wasn't surprising enough, the word on Wearable Tech Street is that the two devices will run Wear OS.
There's been a series of leaks about the new launches, and codenames spotted at regulators back up that two new smartwatches are coming from Samsung. Nothing is confirmed as yet, but Samsung going back to Wear OS is significant. Its previous smartwatches have all launched with its own Tizen OS ‚Äď so moving back to Google could mean significant changes to the OS.
You can read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 rumor round-up for a complete overview.
Casio G-SHOCK G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000
Casio has announced a new G-SHOCK smartwatch ‚Äď and it's set to run Wear OS.
The GSW-H1000 is a beast, weighing in at 104g with dimensions rumored to be 65.6 x 56.3 x 19.5mm, which is frankly enormous ‚Äď but that's what G-Shock lovers expect.
It also uses the dual display from the Casio Pro-Trek range, which blends a full color and low-res display to improve battery performance.
The main display is a 1.32 inch Colour TFT LCD with a 320 x 300 resolution, which doesn't match up to the brightest and boldest AMOLED smartwatch displays. This will switch off to reveal a Monotone LCD display for basic time keeping and data.
Casio hasn‚Äôt stated any estimates of battery life, or the processor on board ‚Äď but we're hoping for Snapdragon Wear 4100.
And there are big sporty features with GPS, 15 trackable activities and 24 indoor workout profiles, rep tracking, VO2 Max for runners and a focus on road cycling.
Read our full guide to the G-SHOCK G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000.
After the US-based company better known for its smart home gear launched a fitness band, we are now getting a Wyze smartwatch and it's a serious budget offering.
The $20 Wyze Watch comes in 44mm and 47mm size options with the smaller Watch packing a 1.4-inch LCD display and the larger option including a 1.75-inch screen.
Features-wise, you can expect daily activity tracking at the top of the list including sleep monitoring. It also finds room for a heart rate monitor and SpO2 to measure blood oxygen levels. It will also offer shortcuts to other Wyze devices, though unlike its Band there's no Amazon Alexa on board.
That's all wrapped up in a square design that carries a water resistant level that makes it only suitable for the odd splash of water, and certainly no swimming action.
It's up for pre-order in the US, with no details as yet if Wyze has plans to launch its watches in other countries and territories.
Huawei Watch Fit Elegant
ETA: Out now
Pop this one down as confirmed ‚Äď Huawei has given its obscurely shaped Watch Fit a makeover.
The Huawei Watch Fit Elegant adds stainless steel finishes in rose gold and silver ‚Äď and the company has added 24/7 SpO2 tracking into the mix, which also rolls down to the older Watch Fit Active.
The Watch Fit is the company‚Äôs fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid, with a tall 1.64 inch, 456 x 280 AMOLED screen. It‚Äôs certainly unique looking, and aimed at those looking for a device to workout at home.
And it‚Äôs no slouch as a smartwatch. It boasts 10 day battery life, 96 workout modes, 12 guided personal training courses and 13 running training modes tracked by GPS.
In the UK the Huawei Watch Fit Elegant‚Äôs will cost ¬£109 (around $150). The original Watch Fit has an MSRP of ¬£119, but currently retails around ¬£70. For context, the Huawei Watch Fit is available for $109 on Amazon US ‚Äď so we‚Äôd expect the Elegant to be available around $129.
TicWatch Pro S
ETA: Out now
The TicWatch Pro S shrinks slightly, from 47mm down to 45mm, and the screen also downsizes marginally to 1.39-inch AMOLED 400 x 400. That still makes it a seriously chunky smartwatch, and we don't feel the TicWatch S is remarkably more unisex or manageable than any previous version.
You still get the secondary FSTN low res display that kicks in when the AMOLED is turned on, which offers always-on features with a big battery life saving.
But there are more troubling downgrades. The first thing to stand out is the use of the Snapdragon 2100, which is two generations behind the Pro 3. This seems a particularly odd choice, especially given it packs a significant price tag.
The price is also slightly lower, and the TicWatch Pro S costs $259.99, making it $40 cheaper than the Pro 3.
Amazfit T Rex Pro
ETA: March 2021
Amazfit has been quiet so far in 2021 after a roaring end to 2020, but it looks to be breaking cover with a revised edition of the T-Rex.
The T-Rex Pro doesn‚Äôt appear to change much on the surface and retains the 47mm case and chunky build of the original.
But the company is adding its new BioTracker heart rate sensor which will offer SpO2. Software features are still TBC, and we‚Äôre expecting the same stress tracking and blood oxygen monitoring seen on the company‚Äôs smartwatch offerings.
The leak alleges that there will be a new operating system on board ‚Äúbased on RTOS‚ÄĚ ‚Äď so it will be interesting whether that changes the usability, battery life or feature set on board.
The company has added new GPS standards, which should boost accuracy and lock-on speeds.
And it‚Äôs now rated 10ATM, which means it can survive up to 100m underwater, making it even more rugged.
Moto G / Motorola One / Moto Watch
ETA: June/July 2021
It looks as if the Moto 360 is coming back for a 4th generation ‚Äď this time with three different versions: Moto Watch, Motorola One and Moto G.
CE Brands (a company that licences and reboots trusted brands) is behind the launch ‚Äď two years after a misfiring attempt to bring back the Moto 360.
The Moto G looks to be getting a release first, with widely leaked materials indicating a June 2021 release date. Those materials suggest a Snapdragon 3100 powering Wear OS, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage. It‚Äôs very much the Moto 360 reimagined, out for a fourth generation.
The Moto Watch looks to have a square design and a passing resemblance to the Apple Watch.
And the Motorola One seems to be a premium version better materials, and more rumors suggest it will run the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. Both the Moto Watch and Morotola One are set to be launched in July 2020.
ETA: On sale in China now / Global TBC
The ZTE Watch Live sees a return to smartwatches for a company that dabbled in Wear OS and is now joining the likes of Xiaomi and Mobvoi's TicWatch GTX in serving up a smartwatch that's much kinder on your bank balance.
The square Watch Live packs in a 1.3-inch 240 x 240 TFT screen, which doesn't sound all that impressive. It does find room for the a heart rate monitor and an SpO2 sensor to take blood oxygen measurements.
There's the presence of 12 sports tracking profiles and there's the promise of anywhere up to 21 days of battery life, which gives it pretty impressive staying power on paper. You can also expect smartwatch staples like notification support, incoming call alerts and weather forecasts.
Priced at 249 yuan, that puts it around $38 and that's pretty cheap for a smartwatch. We'll be intrigued to see if this one makes it out of China sometime in 2021.
ETA: On sale in China now / Global TBC
Huami, which also makes the Amazfit brand watches, launched its Zepp E Square and Zepp E Circle watches and followed up with the more luxury-looking Zepp Z in November, which we are currently testing.
It's since announced a Zepp Z model in China that includes a desirable feature in the way of an ECG sensor. That means it matches the likes of Fitbit, Apple, Samsung and Huawei in offering medical grade-style heart rate readings with the view of detecting abnormalities in the heart among other more serious heart health insights.
Like its ECG-packing rivals, it's only available in China right now, so it remains to be seen whether it will launch elsewhere as it'll need to wrap up the appropriate regulatory approval to set the feature live.
ECG aside, it offers all the same features as the Zepp Z model available outside of China. That includes Huami‚Äôs BioTracker 2 PPG module to deliver optical based heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking and stress detection wrapped up in classic watch styling, now with a fancier titanium alloy.
The original Realme Watch launched in 2020
Leaks have suggested a Realme Watch 2 could be about to drop, as the company looks to update its budget smartwatch.
The Realme Watch launched for $50 back in early 2020, and it‚Äôs been spotted at the FCC with a 1.4-inch 320x320 TFT display that should offer a boost in quality. Elsewhere, the Realme Watch 2 could sport SpO2 and heart rate.
It seems like a decent visual upgrade over last year‚Äôs model, offering improved screen clarity and performance ‚Äď and we‚Äôre expecting the same super-low price tag.